Allowing Content in School Manager

This article is for Filtering Administrators and IT support.

This article covers using Themes, Categories, Signatures, and Time Periods to create content filtering Policies. You can combine your basic filtering policies with Time Periods to create more advanced filtering policies.

Beginner - Themes, Categories, Signatures and Time Periods

We use Themes, Categories, and Signatures to capture current and future online content by groups or patterns. Themes have different Categories, which contain relevant Signatures and websites. We continuously update our classifications to keep up with new content on the internet.

Themes

Themes are groups of related Categories. When you apply content filtering to a Theme, all the categories in the Theme will be affected by the filtering policy, including websites added to the categories in the future.

Categories

Websites and applications are sorted into Categories to further break down web content. You can use categories to fine-tune your filtering policies to fit your school’s requirements. When you apply filtering to a category, all signatures and websites in that category will be affected.

Signatures

A Signature is a pattern for identifying a website, type of web content, or online application. Not all sites and applications have a Signature, as they are usually only created for very popular sites and applications, often using multiple domains and subdomains.


I
mg 1: New filtering rule prompt showing the Theme, Category and Signature.

Time Periods

Time Periods are a type of School Manager Object used to group custom information for use in filtering. Use the Time Periods to define special times of day or days of the week. 

Example

Add Time Periods for class time and lunch time with one policy to block access to a site during class time and add another policy to allow access to the site during lunchtime.

Allow a single category

Filtering at the beginner level involves using categories to allow websites and applications for all your users. This filtering type is useful if you want to allow access to all users at all times of the day. 

  1. In School Manager, select Filtering > Content Filtering.
  2. Select + Create Policy.
Policy Criteria Example Selection
Name Allow - Minecraft Education - All Students
Type Minecraft Education (Signature)
Criteria Time Periods - School Hours (in this example)
Action Allow
Locked Select Locked if you:
  • Already have a Locked Blocked Policy for the Theme (for example, Gaming) or Category (for example, Video Games).
  • Do not want teachers to override the policy in Classwize
Ordering

Save the Policy
Enable the toggle in the Content Filtering list 
Move this policy above any other Block policies for this Theme or Category

Note

Locked policies always appear at the top of the list. Locked policies can be reordered among other locked policies but not moved below policies that aren’t locked.

 

Intermediate - Allow a category only during a specific time

Filtering at an intermediate level involves using Categories to allow websites and applications, plus adding a Time Period to restrict its operation to specific hours for all users. This filtering type is useful if you want to allow access to all users during a specific time of the day.

Add a Time Period

Note

If the Time Period already exists, note the name of the Object and create the filtering policy.

  1. Go to Configuration > Objects > Time Periods.
  2. Select Add Time Period.
  3. Enter a name, like "School Hours", and select Add.
  4. Select one or multiple school Days checkboxes. Select Save.

Create a filtering policy for a Time Period

  1. Go to Filtering > Content Filtering.
  2. Select + Create Policy.
Policy Criteria Example Selection
Name Allow - Minecraft Education - All Students (School Hours)
Type Minecraft Education (Signature)
Criteria Time Periods - School Hours (in this example)
Action Allow
Locked Select Locked if you:
  • Already have a Locked Blocked Policy for the Theme (for example, Gaming) or Category (for example, Video Games).
  • Do not want teachers to override the policy in Classwize
Ordering

Save the Policy

Enable the toggle in the Content Filtering list 

Move this policy above any other Block policies for this Theme or Category

GGGG sm-gui-107-img-filteringpolicy-allow-003.png

Allow a Signature but block other websites in the Theme

Another intermediate-level filtering involves using two filtering policies to allow specific signatures and block access to all other content in this Theme. The Allow policy must be listed before the Block policy.

Example

You must create two policies if you want to allow Minecraft Education while blocking all other games in the Gaming theme. The order of the policies would be:

  1. Allow Minecraft Education
  2. Block Gaming

Hold and move the policy above any policy that blocks Gaming or Video Games in the Content Filtering list.

 

Advanced - Allow a category during different times of the day

Filtering at an advanced level involves blocking a Theme and then using multiple Time Periods to limit its operation to set periods throughout the day for all your users. This filtering type is useful if you want to allow all users access during specific times, such as recess, lunch, or outside school hours.

Configure Time Periods

If Time Periods for class times, recess and lunch times, and outside school hours already exist, skip to the next steps.

  1. Select Configuration > Objects > Time Periods.
  2. Select Add Time Period.
  3. Enter a name, such as "Before School" and select Add.
  4. Select one or multiple school Days checkboxes.
  5. Select Save.
  6. Repeat steps 2 - 6 for other Time Periods, such as Morning Class, Lunch, Afternoon Class, and After School.

Create a Policy

  1. In School Manager, select Filtering > Content Filtering
  2. Select + Create Policy.
Policy Criteria Example Selection
Name Allow - Minecraft Education - All (Before School)
Type Minecraft Education (Signature)
Criteria Time Periods - Before School (in this example)
Action Allow
Locked Select Locked if you:
  • Already have a Locked Blocked Policy for the Theme (for example, Gaming) or Category (for example, Video Games).
  • Do not want teachers to override the policy in Classwize
Ordering

Save the Policy
Enable the toggle in the Content Filtering list 
Move this policy above any other Block policies for this Theme or Category

  1. Repeat these steps if you would like to allow access during other free-time, like “Lunch Time” or “Before School”.

Expert - Allow specific Users or Groups

Filtering at an expert level involves policies to allow a Category of websites and applications for a specific User or Group.

Example

You want to allow the older grades access to YouTube during school hours but limit the younger grades to only access YouTube when the teacher unblocks it.

Warning

If a policy contains different Users and a Group, only the activity that matches both criteria will be filtered by a policy. Criteria work as AND (not OR) operators. The policy will only apply to the Users that are also in the Group.

Allowing a specific user

You may want to allow a teacher access to a website or content that you do not want students accessing.

Example

You have a teacher helping students prepare for mock trials on a potentially controversial topic of outlawing all vape products and paraphernalia. The teacher wants to research and provide your Filtering Administrator with a list of students' names and confirmation the content is appropriate for this Group.

Policy Criteria Example Selection
Name Allow - 2023 Mock Trials - V Cole
Type Alcohol and Tobacco (Category)
Criteria User - VCole
Action Allow
Locked No, because the Block - Substance Abuse - Students policy is not locked.
Ordering

Save the Policy
Enable the toggle in the Content Filtering list 
Move this policy above any other Block policies for this Theme or Category


Allowing a specific group

You may want to allow a group of students access to websites with opinions and political arguments that are in a blocked category.

Example

You have a group of students preparing for mock trials around the outlawing of vape products and paraphernalia. Their teacher has asked to allow a small group of students to be allowed to access content about Tobacco topics.

In this example, the school has a Block - Substance Abuse - Students filtering policy. Tobacco-related content is under the Alcohol and Tobacco category, and you only want to unblock this part for a small group of students.

  1. Go to Configuration > Users and Groups > Groups.

  2. Add a new Group named "Mock Trials".

  3. Go to Filtering > Content Filtering.

  4. Select + Create Policy.
Policy Criteria Example Selection
Name Allow - 2023 Mock Trials - Year 10 Group
Type Alcohol and Tobacco (Category)
Criteria Group - Mock Trials
(only the current students must be in this group)
Action Allow
Locked No, because the Block - Substance Abuse - Students policy is not locked and you want other teachers to be able to block the topic in Classwize.
Ordering

Save the Policy
Enable the toggle in the Content Filtering list 
Move the Mock Trials policy above any other Block policies for the Alcohol and Tobacco Category.


Tip

Add the date or other easy-to-identify marker for temporary policies. You can disable or delete the policies after they are no longer needed.

Contact School Manager Support for assistance with complex filtering scenarios. We can help you identify the Themes, Subcategories, or Signatures matching the content you need to filter. Please see our guide for a full list of Themes and Categories.

 

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